Ideas for Teaching Homophones plus a Freebie!

Eye love teaching homophones! Their are sew many fun activities, and as wee all no, it is an important skill four students two learn inn order too right correctly and meat Common Core Standards. Hear are sum ideas:

Create Double Homophone Sentences  
My third graders had a ball with these. The challenge is to put both homophones into one sentence:

  • Can you see the birds flying over the sea?
  • I ate eight cookies yesterday. 

Here is a fun freebie to use with double homophone sentences. There are several ways to use these pages. You could assign different homophone sets to your students and then make the pages into a class book. Another option is to use the pages on a bulletin board. You could also make a center with a list of homophones and blank pages for students to work on at their own pace. The freebie also includes pages for three-homophone sets and pages to use if you do not want to include an illustration.

Play Homophone Mingle
Try this game. Write pairs of homophones on index card in dark marker, one word per card. Distribute cards randomly to your students. Students must hold their cards in front of them so they are visible and find the classmate with the matching homophone. Once they are paired, each student must say a sentence using his or her homophone correctly. Then have students trade cards with other students and play again(it can be fun to have maybe 20 seconds in which students walk around trading cards with each other - play music and they keep the card they have when the music stops).

Play Homophone BINGO
Version 1:  Write one homophone from 24-40 sets on the board. Write the matching homophones on craft sticks. Distribute blank BINGO cards (Here are some free ones). Have students fill in their cards randomly with the words on the board. To play, draw a craft stick and read the homophone. Display the word on the doc camera or write on the board. Have one or two students use it correctly in a sentence. Students cover the matching word. Then have one or two students use the matching homophone in a sentence. Play till you have a winner.

Version 2:  Write 24-40 homophones on the board. Include both pairs in the sets. So if you include, "here" also include, "hear." Write all of the homophones on craft sticks, one word per stick. Have students write homophones randomly on their cards. They can include both words in a set or just one, but only one word per box. To play, draw a stick and use the word in a sentence. Do not display the word. Students cover the matching homophone. Play till you have a winner. Use discarded craft sticks to check winner's card.

Read a Book
There are several picture books that feature homophones. One of the most popular is Dear, Deer by Gene Baretta. Your students will love the whimsical illustrations of this animal-themed book. Another book to try is If You were a Homonym or a Homophone by Nancy Loewen, which will, as the cover implies help your students to learn the difference between these two types of words.
Don't forget about this classic book. The King who Rained is not only loads of fun, it is also a great jumping off point to talk about the difference between homophones and multiple meaning words. For example, the cover is clearly focused around a homophone, but there are also pages that use multiple meaning words, such as "Daddy says he has a mole on his nose."  Extend the book by having your students create their own pages with illustrations for more homophones and/or multiple meaning words.

Try Homophone Editing
Challenge your students to write sentences using the wrong homophones (like the ones at the start of this post). Have students swap papers to correct each other's sentences or put them all into a worksheet and distribute to the whole class.

Get Homophone Task Cards
Great at a center, here are three sets of 32 cards each in a bundle, but you can also purchase them individually for $2.75 each. These would be great for playing Scoot!

Do you have more ideas to add? Please share how you teach homophones with a comment.

Are You a Gold Star Pinner?

Some of my teacher friends and I have noticed what we consider to be a disturbing trend on Pinterest lately. It seems like many teacher sellers are spamming boards with for-purchase items, usually without a price or even a $ sign to indicate that it is not a free item. While I agree that it is fine to pin some for-purchase products, I am concerned that Teaching Boards on Pinterest are starting to look like a giant advertisement with little useful content. I believe that teachers using Pinterest are more interested in useful content, such as blog posts, teaching websites and freebies. So to that end, I have created this Super Star Pinner Link Up.

Of course, you are free to do whatever you wish with your own Pinterest Boards, but if you would like to be a Gold Star Pinner and join this Link-Up, your teaching boards pins (and repins) must meet the following requirements:

  • At least 75 percent (3 out of 4) of your pins must either be for a freebie, a useful website, or a blog post that offers useful content such as teaching tips, pictures of your classroom, details of how to do teaching related project, ideas on teaching theory etc. Useful content does NOT include contests and posts that are focused around promoting a for-purchase product. 

  • When you do post a for-purchase product, it must have the price in the description or the $ sign to indicate that it is not free. 
Remember to link up your Pinterest URL, not your blog. I will be checking the links and deleting those that do not meet the requirements.

Once you have added your Pinterest URL, feel free to grab this button for your sidebar. 

It is my hope that this link up will help teachers to find quality pinners to follow. 

Setting Student Goals: Tips and a Freebie!

Learning to set goals is an important skill. Among other things setting goals:
  • Helps students to identify where issues or challenges are occurring.
  • Requires students to make a realistic plan to solve the problem/achieve the goal.
  • Empowers students to make positive changes in their lives.

That is why I created this easy-to-use goal-setting worksheet that can be used three different times throughout the school year (fall, winter, spring). 

Here are some tips for using this worksheet:

Lead by Example
Fill out the sheet yourself, not only so that your students see how to fill it out correctly, but also so that they see that adults set goals too.

Encourage students to make "just right" goals
"Just right" goals are not too easy but are not too difficult either. The goal should take some effort to achieve. It is also a good idea to help the perfectionists in your class to make goals that will not result in frustration and failure. For example: "I will get 100% on all of my spelling tests" is not a good goal because as soon as the student misses a word, she has failed to meet the goal. A better goal might be: "I will an average score of at least 90% on all of my spelling tests."

Teach students to make specific goals
It is important that the student knows when he or she is meeting the goal. For example, "I will study my spelling words," is pretty vague. "I will study my spelling words for ten minutes every Wednesday and Friday evening at 7:00," is a much more specific goal.

Teach students to make measurable goals
Your students should know without a doubt if they have achieved their goals. Rather than, "I will be more polite," a better goal would be, "I will remember to say, 'please,' and 'thank you.'"

Make time for reflection
Be sure to leave some time for students to assess how they did with their goals. Stress that failing to meet a goal doesn't make a person a failure, it just means they need to figure out what went wrong and try again. You may one to do this in a one-on-one mini-conference or have your students go over their goals and how they did with a parent.

Celebrate rather than reward
Skip the candy and LPC (little plastic crap)  and let students actually feel the pride and empowerment that comes from achieving a goal. Intrinsic reward is a happy thing. However, that does not mean you cannot acknowledge that goals in your classroom have been met. Rather than singling out individuals, why not have a celebration for the whole class. Those who did not meet their goals can celebrate with those who did. A celebration can be as simple as, "Let's give a round of applause to everyone who met their goals!"

Have you done goal setting with your students? Please tell us about it with a comment.

Back to School Resources

Just in case you are looking for some Back to School products, here are some great ones from my store (just click on the image to go to the product page):

Beginning of the Week Activities and Management Tools for the Whole Year
This is a mixed bundle of activities, forms, printables, and ideas that will help get your year off to a great start! Download it here.

Spelling Activities for Any List
Here are 54 different activities to use with your spelling program! Each activity comes in two formats - for 16 words or for 20 words. There is also a Word version so you can edit as needed for your class. Perfect for differentiated spelling programs.

If you are trying to avoid worksheet type activities and would prefer students to work on notebook paper, I also have spelling activities in card format here or in a Tic-Tac-Toe Menu Choice Grid here.

Discussion and Writing Prompts
If you are looking for discussion and writing prompts (great way to get to know your students!), try either or these two:

You can also find journal 252 prompts are also organized in Tic-Tac-Toe Menus here. That is enough for the entire school year!

If you are looking for ways to shake up your reading program, consider this set of 15 Creative Book Reports with Grading Rubrics. Perfect for independent reading programs - or use with the whole class!

I also have Reading Response Questions in Card format and in Label format for interactive notebooks.

If you are looking for Task Cards, I have made a catalog of all of them in the form of a google docs spread sheet.

Of course, I also have a variety of freebies to help during those first weeks. Here are my favorites:
Get to Know You Jenga
Student Search (Grades 2-3)
Student Search (Grades 4-6)
Friendship Cards
Character Word Strips
Opinions Wanted!
Followers of Minds in Bloom will know that I rarely promote my own for-purchase products as blatantly as I just did. So, please let me know...was this okay or did it put you off? I promise that Minds in Bloom will never become the sort of blog that contains post after post of self-promotion, but I would like to know if it is okay to do a little more than I have in the past. Please comment with your honest opinion. 

Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale and Task Card Catalog

The giant TpT site-wide back to school sale is almost here! These sales only happen a few times a year, so this would be a great time to purchase those products on your wish list. Everything in my store will be 20% off and if you enter coupon code BTS12 at check out, you will get an additional 10% off!

If you are looking for task cards, please check out this new handy dandy Task Card Catalog! This is a spreadsheet I made on google docs which will help you to easily locate whatever set of cards you are after.

Wishing you students who are eager to learn, parents who are eager to help, and an administration that understands that YOU know best how to teach your students. 

Back to School Cyber Search: 12 Free Gifts for Grades 3-6!

The Cyber Search is over for now, but if you are just reading this post now, there are still lots of great blogs to visit below and if you follow Minds in Bloom, you will be sure to get in on the next one. 

Welcome to Minds in Bloom! If this is your first time here, I hope you will take a look around. You will find a wealth of helpful blog posts as well as many freebies! Check out the tabs above and the sidebars to find what interests you most. 

Yippee-Skippee! I am so very pleased to be participating in the Back 2 School Cyber Search! I know you will be thrilled too because very soon, you will be picking up twelve awesome free gifts from twelve different TpT sellers! It all happens on Saturday, August 11, when each of us will be making one of our paid products free for the entire day.

Since this is a Back to School event, I have decided to give away a product that I hope will help you now and throughout the school year. This collection of teaching tips is one of my best sellers. New teachers will find a plethora of ideas for making their first year run smoothly and even experienced teachers are likely to find some new things to try.

So, how do you get it? Just come back here on Saturday and click here to download it free. Then hit that back button so that you can visit each of the blogs below and pick up their free gifts. I am so impressed with the quality of products offered in this Cyber Search...and if you download them all, you will get nearly $50 worth of products all for free!

If you are new to any of the blogs you are visiting, be sure and take a look around. You might also want to leave a comment on the post and join as a follower. Each of these ladies is amazing!

FREE Informational Text Structures Handout and Poster

Informational Text Structures can be tricky to teach, but they are important for understanding nonfiction text. Not only that, they are part of the Informational Text Common Core Standards for fourth and fifth grade:

RI.4.5. Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.

RI.5.5. Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.

To make things a little easier, I created these five free posters and student handout as reminders for your students. The handout and posters include signal words and tips for identifying each of these text structures:
  • Description
  • Problem and Solution
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Cause and Effect
  • Sequence. 

If you are looking for more practice with Informational Text Structures, consider purchasing this set of  multiple choice task cards. Just like the sample card below, each card features a short nonfiction paragraph for students to identify. 

Back to School Teacher Must-Haves

I was fortunate enough to be a contributor for this fun project (look for me on the Classroom Games page). There are all kinds of great back to school ideas here! Just click on the image below to view.

Teaching Resources

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